Titans 22, Bills 16
Jan. 08, 2000
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ Call it the Adelphia Miracle.
Kevin Dyson sped 75 yards down the left sideline with a lateral on a kickoff for the winning touchdown with three seconds remaining Saturday, lifting the Tennessee Titans to a 22-16 playoff victory over the stunned Buffalo Bills.
The Titans had to survive a video review, and when referee Phil Luckett announced the throw from Frank Wycheck to Dyson was legal, the Adelphia Coliseum rocked like nothing Music City has seen before.
Buffalo players, meanwhile, lay strewn on the turf, in shock that they allowed Tennessee to steal the first playoff game of 2000.
It was the first touchdown on a kickoff return for the Titans since 1988, when they were the Houston Oilers, and Dyson's first kickoff return ever.
The decisive play will be argued forever _ the pass from Wycheck after he took a handoff from Lorenzo Neal on the short kickoff was that close. And it was hardly the way anyone expects Tennessee, which at 13-3 had the best wild-card record ever, to win.
Usually, the scheme is a fearsome pass rush, the running of Eddie George and the placekicking of Al Del Greco. All of those elements were there: The Titans had six sacks, George rushed 29 times for 106 yards and Del Greco made a 36-yard field goal with 1:48 to go for a 15-13 lead.
But the Bills, the AFC's dominant team of the early 1990s, showed their poise. Rob Johnson, indecisive for much of the game in the face of All-Pro Jevon Kearse and his teammates' pressure, guided them 38 yards in six plays after Kevin Williams' 33-yard kickoff return. Steve Christie nailed a 41-yard field goal for the lead with 16 seconds left.
That left enough time for something desperate. The Titans, in the franchise's first playoff game in six years, found just the right miracle play.